Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Buying books online

Sometimes you cannot find the books you need in your local bookstore, so what do you do? You do a world wide web search. Go local first such as ACMAMALL, MPH, KINOKUNIYA. Then compare with other online bookshops before you make your purchase.

Sometimes I am spoiled for choice but only have so little cash, what do I do? I would have a peek inside the books to make my decision with the help of Amazon's "Look Inside" feature and through Google Books. If the book is easy to read and understand and its contents meet my requirements, that's the book I'd choose. Which company I buy it from depends on the shipping rates. Amazon and Alibris are great but shipping is expensive especially to Malaysia. Book Depository has FREE shipping and the prices are also reasonable.

You can also check out noqstore which is a little closer to home. Be warned, shipping can be a bit costly as well. Selection is great though.

If you aren't looking for academic books, booksgalore is my favorite; plus you can give her titles you are looking for. You can opt to buy new or pre-owned.

So, start your book search now and good luck!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Doing Ph.D - I am not alone; You are not alone

I have just begun my doctoral pursuit at the end of December last year...and now 3 months into the programme, I feel I am nothing. I am but an empty vessel. In education, they say no student is an empty vessel, but not this student! Whatever knowledge I have accumulated over the years seemed to have left me the moment I signed up for Ph.D - Permanent Head Damage, that's what people say it is an abbreviation for. I never thought I would fall into this 'damaged head' category but here I am, feeling precisely that.

But here's the thing. Apparently it is normal. You will feel like an empty vessel at the beginning, grasping for straws, putting them together to form a theoretical framework, then a conceptual framework. You don't know if you are doing anything right. And by the time you are doing your analysis, you look at the result and you think your work is rubbish or too simple, and depression sets in. This is not for the faint-hearted.

That is the process. If I think I am struggling, there are many more like me thinking the same thing. So I am not alone, and neither are you. Just reach out and talk to someone else who is also doing Ph.D or who has journeyed down that road, you will feel better.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Guys don't want things they can easily get

Well then I am smokin' hot! Coz "Guys want things they CAN'T get!"

I know this doesn't make any sense, and it's funny that I'm this cryptic after such a long time not blogging. But beginning to blog again is my new un-new year's resolution. Sounds reminiscent of Alice in the Wonderland and you don't get it? Lemme rephrase that to "first quarter of the year new resolution". :)

I realise my writing is getting rusty and it didn't use to be when I was blogging. Words are coming harder now; so, it takes longer to write. So my plan is to write an hour of non academic writing a day and an hour of academic writing a day. Hopefully that improves both writing genres.

So what's my free advice? In a way, there are two. The most obvious one is that writing needs practice and I am attempting to get back into the habit of writing.

Number 2 is that sometimes guys take things for granted and when I say things, I mean us wives, girlfriends, life partners. It could happen the other way round also but to get back to what I was saying. We CANNOT BE TOO NICE to our idiotic other half. Give in all the time or give them what they like. It's too easy and they like a challenge.

I know a lady who took such good care of her husband right down to ironing his socks and breakfast in bed. Maybe I am exaggerating with the socks but what did the man do? Did he stay true? No, he sought challenges outside. What did she do? She questioned 'why me?' coz she was the perfect wife.

...and there I was, snuggling up to my husband and he pushes me away. I gasped in surprise. The gall! You don't push me away once coz I don't go for seconds. I turned away and I called him a "Wife rejector! and to keep it simple, i gave him a taste of rejection. But the rule is never to go to bed angry, so we made up (not so immediately coz we have to make them beg) and men say it's the women who like to pick fights but look who started it.

Anyway, somehow, the next day we were talking about stuff and the issue of him being a wife rejector came up. The reason? Well, apparently, guys don't want what they can easily get. Is that so? I asked. In that case, many guys would want me coz I am hot and I'm married. Guys WANT what they CAN'T GET, right?

I've seen 2 colleagues leaving their spouses to marry each other. Guys want what they can't get! That could happen for me as well. The only reason I am not hooking up or considering it is coz I love my husband. So if my husband want to destroy that love, I don't mind finding some one else who'd appreciate me and not take me for granted.

So seriously, "Please be nice but don't be TOO nice!"

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Would you marry a smoker?

Don't settle.

In the news yesterday, HK bans smoking. This new law is not only confined to confined spaces but no smoking is allowed in public places including parks and playgrounds as well. Cool huh? I applaud thsi decision. Some years back, at that time I was still pregnant with Mika, we went to KLCC park and on the walk there, I saw boy and girl walking with each other. Boy was smoking, and girl was inhaling the smoke that wind blew towards her. My God! I would never put up with that. Never!

Then, at the park itself. Grown men with small brains were smoking to their hearts' content, not caring about the kids in the playground or the pregnant women (myself included) or other people in their presence. It's not enough that they don't care about their own health, they don't care about other people's either.

What has it got to do with not settling? If you hate the act of smoking, would you marry a smoker? For the sake of love, would you sacrifice your own health? Your family's? And later, when you have kids, their health as well?

My uncle is a smoker. Still is. Said he'd quit when he got married. Didn't. Said he'd quit when his wife gave birth. Didn't. He has 3 kids and he's still smoking.

Do you know that you can get leukemia from inhaling cigarrette smoke? A child died at 13 of leukemia while a smoking dad died at the old age of 90? You could say it's fate. Old man was healthy as a hoot.

My husband was a smoker. When I first got to know him, he told me he'd quit smoking. Then one day, at a restaurant, I made him move from one table to another which was smoke-free, he realised that I really hated cigarettes and anything to do with it. I told him that I had warned my students that they had better not let me catch them smoking for I would snip their cigarettes right under their noses. He said, "Remember I told you that I'd quit smoking?"
Me: Uh hmm
Him: Well, I'm still quitting.
I have always liked his sense of humour. It tickled me that he was still quitting.
I said, "Fine. Make sure that when you smoke, you are not irresponsible like the people behind us who doesn't care if because of them, someone loses a family member or friend or someone special. Make sure you hole yourself up in a room where you can smell your own second hand smoke. Make sure when you get cancer, you get it early so that your widow can remarry. As long as you don't harm others but yourself, you can smoke to death for all I care."

He wanted to know if I was serious about not marrying a smoker. I said yeah, a smoker doesn't even love himself. How can he love others?

He had the gall to say if that was the case, I'd probably end up a spinster coz all men smoke. Then I'd be happy to be a spinster than to marry a smoker. Plus, he's wrong. Not all men smoke. My brother doesn't. My dad doesn't. And his friend doesn't!

When he wanted to know where he stood, I told him, we'd always be good friends as I would never marry a smoker.

Amazingly, in the days to come, he quitted smoking. The next day, he visited his sister who had cervical or was it ovarian cancer? She died some days after his visit to her. It could be that. I don't know. What I know is that I didn't settle. I said I would never marry a smoker and I didn't.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Is he having an affair?

My hubby informed me that he had to finish his year-end report and that he'd be back late. It was due the next day and it had to be completed. The week before he was also finishing a report. And although I knew my hubby to be telling the truth, the devil in me got my imagination working overtime.
Immediately after putting down the phone, I was thinking, "Hmm, is he having an affair? Is this his way of easing in into an affair? First, it starts with working late into the wee hours of morning. And then later, he'll tell me he has to go outstation, and then probably he'll change jobs and work in a different state where he can lead a double life."
Oh oh oh, what a horrible imagination I've got. And this is not the first time. At one time, I remember that even the thought of him hanging out with his guy friends worried me coz some guys can go two-ways, if you get what I mean. And if you've watched Oprah, she did one exclusive episode on guys who went on the 'down low'. They claim they are not gay, yet their secret rendezvous was with other men, and doing it! And they are happily married guys here. That's why they don't feel like they are cheating on their wives. But the fact that they are hiding this secret lifestyle shows that subconsciously they know they are doing something not right here.
The point of this little admission here is that I think it's normal for women to have these fears and I have shared these thoughts with friends and they have the same concerns too. But the trick is according to my mom is not to confront the guy and talk about it because basically, it IS so far all in your mind. It's better to just observe your hubby if the late night working still continues. Notice how he dresses, how he smells, how he behaves etc.; does he talk a lot on the mobile phone? Ask yourself, "What is out of the ordinary?"
If you do harp on it and it happens, imagine what the guy would say, "I didn't do anything and yet still, you treated me as if I did with all the interrogation and stuff; so might as well do it!"
I know of a story of a lady who always used to tell her hubby, "If you don't like the way things are, go marry one more laa" and of course guys being guys took it literally guess what, he did and the young wife was half her age. They divorced, FYI. So, the moral of the story is that how one communicates is also important. And if it hasn't happened yet, don't treat it like it's happened already.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Everybody Loves Raymond and lessons learnt

Did anyone watch Everybody Loves Raymond on Starworld last night? I so totally forgot about Project Runway which I have been following the last week, all because it's Monday. One whole night, I was bothered by this niggling feeling of 'what am I missing or forgetting?'. Well, for tonight, I've made a mental note to watch Grey's Anatomy and Project Runway. Last night I only caught the ending and Brad was kicked out. The moment I heard 'poor tailoring', I knew it was not going to be Robert.

Anyway, back to Everybody Loves Raymond, Mom and I have agreed that he wasn't an exemplary hubby. Debra looked haggard most of time either doing everything being the supermom she was, or because she was trying to knock some sense into Raymond's head.

Last night's episode was funny and it was about 'Dr. Raymond' forgetting to mention Debra in his thank you speech. Though Debra was hurt, she tried to be happy for him and not ruin his special day. But Amy picked up on it, got it out of her and told Raymond. Unfortunately, Robert overheard and boy, was he gleeful and now the family knew. Can't remember if it was Robert or his dad who suggested that they buried him in his robes!

Raymond apologizes to Debra but spoils the apology by trying to justify why he could have forgotten her. Because he was thanking people/ who had helped him/ at that time/ in college./ And obviously she wasn't one of them.

So now she didn't help at all? What was she doing when he was writing his speech if not to build up his confidence etc. etc.?
Yeah, she helped by cutting him down first then building him up; maybe, unconsciously, something in his brain prevented him from thanking her!
"Subconsciously, you mean," she corrected him, "unconsciously means you're asleep."
"I'm a stupid doctor!"

Oh God, so painful to watch him trying to pull both feet out of his mouth.

But okay, Raymond tries to redeem himself by thanking his wife in his column, and Debra was very happy, and it was indeed well written that if it hadn't been for Debra's smile, he wouldn't have had achieved one dream which enabled him to concentrate on his other dreams. But who should turn up but HIS MOTHER reminding him of her 19 hours of labour!
And his father, and Amy and Robert! Robert who felt that he should be credited for Raymond's success because he too had his own column, and this triggered competitiveness in Raymond to outdo him.

My husband was like, "the women in his life are kinda horrible."

Well, ya but he doesn't know how to handle them, and the way he tries to justify his actions always come out wrong because it's not his fault. Plus, he's short sighted. He handles one problem but creates another. But his saving grace is that he's trying. Nobody can fault a person for trying.

It also depends on the other person. You think you're being supportive but you might not be viewed that way. Finally, after so many years, I understood what might have gone wrong in one of my longest childhood frienships, from Std 5 since I knew her until graduating in uni. Somewhere along the way, I was not good enough anymore, and she preferred my friends and tried to exclude me out of her planning and activities. Everyone had a boyfriend but me. FYI, my hubby is my first love and I married him. I met him when I was 25. It was a whirlwind romance in that it happened so quickly and then we were married already. Interesting huh? But it wasn't love at first sight. I couldn't make up my mind if I liked his looks or not. But I love my hubby's sense of humour. Anyway, I had no boyfriends prior to that and I was happy being single. My mom was sooo worried though because everyone around me was getting married and to add salt to the wound, they were younger! So, to please her or rather to keep her quiet, I did go out on blind dates that well meaning friends tried to set up for me and somehow that gave me the courage to meet and accept my hubby.

Enough background story. Main point was I had no boyfriends, didn't have one before and wasn't looking for one. I'd always thought I'd end up with a more mature man, someone older, like my dad and my mom. So I never really looked at guys in college. My friends of course, had boyfriends and two in this group of 4 actually married the guys they were dating. And one of them was of course my oldest friend. (FYI, we're okay now, still in touch but the closeness is not really the same). Whenever she had problem with her guy and was unhappy, there I was, always on her side, saying that if he didn't know how to make her happy, then he wasn't worthy of her. And if he tried to make up with her and I see his effort, I said, "There you go, he's trying." Kinda like Meredith telling Izzy, "Good riddance!" when she caught whathisname with the nurse whatshername. But Izzy didn't see it as support. Support to Izzy was to be there for her through the pain, the way she, Izzy was there for Meredith when Meredith found out McDreamy or Sheppard was married. I mean, now I understand that this must be the what went wrong in our friendship, but my friend was the type who, if she felt hurt by you, would never tell you that you've hurt her. Instead she'd give you the silent treatment and lets you figure it out by yourself. And you're not a mindreader! That's why I always make it a point to make my dissatisfaction known before I give the silent treatment, if I give the silent treatment, which I don't usually.

And when she's okay with it, she acts like nothing happened. I must say it was a pretty confusing friendship for me. Maybe my other friends, being involved as well, consoled her better, I don't know. But I do understand now that maybe I shouldn't have said anything. I dunno if she's happy or sad or resigned with her choice of life partner but I wish her all the happiness in the world. Whatever I said that seemed to have hurt her so, I said with good intentions and only with her happiness in mind. If that destroyed the friendship, then I guess I was not accepted for who I was. And I can tell you the lesson that I learnt from my broken friendship was relationships are about give and take and you should accept people the way they are. If you feel that you have to walk around on eggshells, then you are not true to yourself and to that person.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Nobody's Perfect

My mother had an argument recently with my dad. Tongue in cheek, I said, "So old, still fight ah?" which translates "You're so old and you still fight?"
My mom said, "Hey, we're not dead yet; of course we still fight. Luckily your father knows how to pujuk (make up with) me. (Some details: not x-rated, just mushy and not important to the story)"
I said, "As you usually say laa, that's his saving grace."
"Well nobody's perfect," my mom answered, "if he doesn't have a saving grace, then what’s the point of staying married?”

I guess I have to agree with her that NOBODY'S PERFECT, and that's why I guess we just need someone who, and I quote Jerry Macguire, "completes me" or in other words complements me, rather than hunt the world for a MR PERFECT or MS PERFECT.

In fact, I would go as far as to say that one man's meat is another man's poison. I know it's cliche but it's true. Back in uni, I got 2 friends. Let's call one X and the other Y. Both are good friends of mine and both are nice people. And though they know each other and get along quite well with each other, they are simply acquaintances. Anyway, X dates Z and they broke up. Now X hates Z, hates the sight of Z, and well, basically you get the idea.
After some time, I don't know who pursued who but Y and Z become a couple, and while I only saw 2 people fighting in the first relationship, I saw 2 people in lurve in the second. I guess the second couple is more compatible.

For me, compatibility is not so much sharing the same interests as me, coz that would be boring but I think our VALUES have got to be similar. Ooh, let’s take MONEY for example. Imagine, if I spend money like water and the guy is a tightwad. We’re gonna have problems. BIG problems. See, the way we view MONEY would be different. We’re gonna be fighting all the time until somebody gives in. That’s why, there also has got to be give and take in the relationship and most importantly, COMMUNICATION. Meaning to say, I talk, you listen and you talk, I listen and we take note. Communication is the key to change. If we’re all talking and nobody’s registering, then, that wouldn’t be communication. OR nobody talks, you just keep it all suppressed until you can’t stand the sight, the voice, the smell of that person. Nothing he or she does is right anymore. It’s horrible!

Do you know who’s my favourite TV COUPLE?
Guess if they are the couple from
A. Mad about You
B. Everybody Loves Raymond
C. Home Improvement
D. King of Queens
E. My Wife and Kids

The answer is Tim the Toolman Taylor and his wife Jill from Home Improvement. Do you know why? He’s so totally not perfect and a klutz too! They do argue a lot but they try to reason out why the other is upset and come up with a solution, sometimes with the help from their neighbour, Wilson. And they are loving. Marriage is not a bed of roses without weeding and nurturing and watering. It’s hard work but worth it.